Field Education Overview
Field education is an integral part of the USC Master of Social Work curriculum, providing students hands-on opportunities to observe and participate in learning about clients, agencies and communities relevant to their emerging skills.
The school requires MSW@USC students to complete two different field internships in nearby social service agencies, government entities, schools, hospitals or businesses under the supervision of an experienced social worker. We offer placements where students live based upon:
- Geographic location
- Previous work and volunteer experience
- Future goals and career track
- Professional interests
- Agency needs
The field experience is designed to help students develop self-awareness, professional values and the skills required to engage in social work practice. Interning within an agency allows a student to observe and participate in the full range of functions, responsibilities, challenges and opportunities experienced by today’s social workers. These experiences can include providing direct services to clients using different methods and modalities of intervention to assessing, developing and evaluating services that address the needs of a community.
Foundation Year Placements
Foundation-year field placements orient students to the profession and introduce them to social work values and ethics by offering opportunities to provide direct service to individuals, families, groups and organizations. Students also learn core practice skills, including psychosocial assessment, clinical interviewing and evaluation, with an emphasis on helping clients of different ages, gender/family constellations, sexual orientation, economic, racial and cultural backgrounds in different situations who need crisis, short-term/long-term, therapeutic, concrete or preventive assistance.
Concentration Year Placements
Concentration-year field placements build on the foundation of the first year, helping students develop advanced clinical skills and knowledge within a designated area of practice. Students are required to select an area of concentration in one of the following: Families and Children; Community Organization, Planning and Administration (COPA); Health; Mental Health or Military Social Work.
Upon graduation, MSW@USC students will have completed a minimum of 1,000 hours in a variety of social service settings working with diverse populations. This amounts to 16-20 hours per week, or 450 hours in the foundation year and 550 hours in the concentration year.
Click here to learn more about the MSW@USC.